DEAR DIARY 2008: Benchmark, Harbeth, LFD, LAT, Julia Fordham – and a broken Krell


First published in June 2008

Interesting day, yesterday. Got my first (of many I hope) Benchmark DAC-1 preamp. Looked good straight out of the box., Can it be as good as Ken Kessler said in Hi-Fi News recently? Err, yes, and then some! Hooked it up to my North Star 192 Transport (Philips PRO2 mechanism).

Unpacked a pair of Harbeth HL1 Mk3 speakers recently traded in. About 15 years old I guess - but in great condition. Bigger than any current Harbeth other than the giant 40.1. Smallish transparent bass/mid drivers. Looks quaint. Happy memories of the dozens of these I sold back in the Subjective Audio days. Bit anxious; purchased unseen and unheard.

Reluctantly put my Manley Stingray back on the shelf so that I could use the Benchmark. 2 x LFD PA3 monos too heavy to move right now, so I ‘compromise’ on an LFD PowerStage PA1. Turns out not to be a compromise at all into the old Harbeths.

Still fiddling about with interconnects and settle on a cheap and anonymous one between North Star and Benchmark because it’s the only one immediately to hand. Use the terrific LAT IC-300 Mk2 interconnects with Eichman Bullet RCA connectors (a very pleasing fit) from the Benchmark to LFD when one of my customers turns up with money, the return of a few Johhny Winter CDs I lent and a Julia Fordham CD. Play first track – “Happy Ever After”. Both of us sit their amazed. Accidental magic! All the components are working terrifically well together. Looks like I'm on to something here.

Plan to compare my LFD Silver speaker cables (currently in use) with my LAT SS 800 Mk2 speaker cables. 4:1 price ratio. Will this system show the differences and more importantly, will those differences translate into improvements? Start pondering on what precisely is an improvement. Quickly dismiss the thought. Too demanding right now.

Monitor my eBay sale of an broken Krell KSA 200S. Price now £134. Not bad. Thought I’d get perhaps one bid of just £9.00. Must be more diy experts /gamblers out there than I thought. Glad the silly questions (all deleted by me) have stopped being sent. Hmm, there are some right miserable and rude know-it-alls out there. It’s a broken Krell for sale, not a cure for cancer!

Day ends happily with 3 orders for LFD Integrated amps. Strange coincidence that. No LFD enquiries let alone sales for a 17 days, then 3 orders – all from customers I’ve never met.



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